Nawayee Center School
If you plant a seed in a soil of trust, it will grow in anticipated ways.
FACTS & FIGURES
Young learners served
Ages of young learners served
Free and reduced lunch
Indigenous to Turtle Island (North America)
Graduation rate of credit-eligible seniors
If you had to design a learning model that would be applicable for young learners seven generations from now, what would you create? The Seventh Generation Principle which has been at the core of many Native American traditions for millenia, was for the first time documented within the Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-noe-sho-nee), and today, is at the core of Nawayee Center School’s learning philosophy.
The Seventh Generation Principle invites one to view the world through an earth-first lens—how will our actions impact the planet we live on and the living things that live on it with us? When a learning environment is created with that guiding principle on the table, it doesn’t matter where your ancestors came from. The only thing that matters is whether or not you believe it is a fruitful way to engage with the world around you.
When visitors walk through Nawayee Center School’s doors, Joe Rice, Executive Director, smiles when they say, “I can’t explain it, but there is such a different energy here.” That energy is what allows learners of every age—particularly those who have spent 12 years inside a system that has rarely or never served their needs and interests—cultivate a positive relationship with learning and their cultural and personal identities.
In practice, this personalized, relevant, and contextualized and socially embedded learning experience is built on trust, which is developed through active and intentional listening. Therapists trained in trauma healing, listen. Educators trained in observing behaviors without judgement, listen. Young people mentored in self-regulation within the context of relationships, listen. Through listening, everyone within the learning community cultivates a sense of learner agency that enhances their ability to “dream, intuit, and create” for the betterment of the community inside and outside Nawayee Center School’s walls.
The day-to-day experience for a young learner at Nawayee Center School is filled with culture, music, and ceremony. Open-walled experiences are a weekly norm, as young learners participate in opportunities such as environmental exploration and conservation, boat building, buffalo hide tanning, and longer-term internship opportunities that integrate their knowledge and skills into work that is serving their community.
Nawayee Center School is a valuable and untapped resource within the Minneapolis education community. As they continue building partnerships with community organizations and businesses, they want neighbor learning environments to know their doors are always open to assist in building learner-centered experiences for all young people in the area. If what they’re up to sounds like the transformative shift you’ve been looking for (Minneapolis-based or not), give them a shout and let the co-learning begin.
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